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Sky Dancers Revisited

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Sky Dancer dolls were one of the most popular toys for girls in the '90s. They weren't princesses per se, but the dolls granted the fantasy of becoming a faery princess  and flying over a magical kingdom. Each one had a set of pastel dragonfly-like wings that spun around to launch the doll into the air at the pull of a string. The toys were so popular that they launched an animated series in 1996 under the same name. However, the dolls were more of a concept than a story, which made it difficult to streamline into one succinct set of characters with a direct conflict that they could resolve each week. In contrast, my favorite magical girl show  from that time period, Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders , had a fleshed cast that allowed it to tell a strong story with an intriguing beginning, middle, and end. Though I collected toys from both series, I have much clearer memories of the plot and characters from Jewel Riders than Sky Dancers. Thanks to my friends at the Jewel

Brandy Reprises Her Role as Cinderella!

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It turns out I wasn't the only one who was excited to learn that the 1997 version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella  was coming to Disney+ last week. Everyone involved in the making of this classic film from over 20 years ago got together for interviews , a live watch party on Twitter , and more. The biggest surprise of this celebration was a brand new music video  from Disney aficionado Todrick Hall  featuring the leading lady herself, Brandy Norwood . It starts out as a fun little singing session between Brandy and Todrick as they serenade each other with songs from the classic musical. Then, something magical happens as Brandy is transformed into a slightly updated version of her princess look from the 1997 film and returns to the ball with Todrick as her prince. The video comes to a "happily ever after" with socially distanced cameos from several of the other cast members in the film. Todrick Hall is no stranger to producing professional-quality Disney fan

Review: The Golden Ball

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Since I enjoyed  The Scarred Prince  by Erika Everest as much as I did, I was eager to read and review the next book in the Kingdoms of Fable series,  The Golden Ball . This book is a charming novella that combines several fairy tales with the main spotlight on  "The Frog Prince" and "Swan Lake."  It is every bit as compelling as The Scarred Prince,  though it was a different story with a different type of protagonist. I thought it was an interesting choice to combine two fairy tales that both involve transformation sequences . To avoid having a bunch of sentient animals running around, the author only kept the physical transformation from one of these fairy tales. I think that was the right decision, though it would have been fun to see a swan and a frog interact together like Odette and Jean-Bob did in the animated Swan Princess  movies . Another magical twist to the tale is that the main character in The Golden Ball  also happens to be the daughter of "The

More Diverse Cinderella Movies Are Coming!

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"Cinderella"  is quite possibly the most well-known fairy tale of all time. Every culture has its own version of the story, and it has had more movie adaptations than any other fairy tale, which says something about its timelessness and popularity. Andrew Lloyd Webber is even working on a new musical of it to open whenever we're allowed to go to the theaters again. Of all the "Cinderella"s out there, there is one project that has been kept so under wraps that it hasn't even had a trailer even though it was supposed to come out today. That project is Sony's Cinderella  starring one of the most adorable pop stars of our time, Camila Cabello . The movie was meant to celebrate diversity and feature the first gender neutral Fairy Godmother along with an array of modern pop songs. Like so many other movies  that were supposed to come out over the past year, its release today never happened . It just might be more likely for a plain yellow pumpkin to become

Review: The Scarred Prince

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I recently started a new series called Kingdoms of Fable by Erika Everest . The first book is The Scarred Prince , which is promoted as an adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast"  and "Little Red Riding Hood."  Instead of retelling these well-known fairy tales, I found that The Scared Prince was actually an original story with references to many other fairy tales that were not listed in the description. I knew about Erika Everest from the Fairytale Courtyard group on Facebook  that she shares with one of my favorite authors, A.G. Marshall . This series is quite new with only two books out so far, and I think it's off to a terrific start. It's about a group of princesses who know each other due to a shared curse inspired by "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." Each book focuses on one of their adventures while further developing their shared friendships and experiences. The Scarred Prince  does not feel like a true "Beauty and the Beast" adapta

Review: Throne of Elves

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I learned about  Throne of Elves  through a recommendation from a friend. It is a Chinese animated film inspired by a video game called Dragon Nest  that takes place in a Dungeons and Dragons-inspired world with humans, elves, and other fantasy races. This movie is a sequel to  Dragon Nest: Warriors Dawn , which introduces the world of Alterra. I watched that movie as well, but I found the plot too convoluted along with gratuitous action sequences that took me out of the story. It reminded me of Bayala: A Magical Adventure , which also introduces a vast world of fantasy characters and kingdoms that are packed into a single story. I think Throne of Elves i s easier to enjoy than Warriors Dawn  because it focuses on a central couple instead of jumping around between different characters and lore all at once. The girl from the central couple is an elf princess, which makes it a perfect contender for my blog. At the beginning of the movie, Princess Liya is excited to attend her brother'

New Trailer Takes a Deep Dive into Raya and the Last Dragon

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Raya and the Last Dragon  is speculated to be the next big Disney Princess movie . Until recently, many details of its plot were kept under wraps. We know she's a warrior princess , that her people are divided, and that she needs to find the last dragon to help reunite them. Anything else about the story was only hinted at during last month's Investor Day presentation . Today, Disney treated us to a new poster and full-length trailer that gives us a first look at Raya's backstory as well as many of the other characters in the cast, including the dragon, Sisu, herself. The movie is on schedule  for its March 5th release in theaters and on Disney+ for an additional fee. If this trailer is any indication of what to expect on that day, we are in for quite the adventure. The trailer begins with Raya discovering a stray baby and, like the kindhearted princess she is, searching for its parents. Then the baby reveals herself to be a "con-baby" (whatever that means) with

Review: Disenchanted! The Musical

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Disenchanted the Musical is a project that began in 2009 and made its way to off-Broadway theaters in 2012. Not to be confused with  the upcoming Disney+ sequel to  Enchanted , this stage show is a parody  of the Disney Princess brand that is in no way sanctioned by Disney, as proven by the public domain-approved character autographs on the poster. The show contains far too many Disney-specific references to be an interpretative musical about fairy tales in the vein of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods . Disenchanted! is far less sophisticated than Into the Woods with a focus on low-brow humor and an overall lack of plot, which explains why it never could have been a contender for the elite world of Broadway . It must instead settle for off-Broadway and low-budget local productions like the one I streamed over the weekend. The show's childish humor about cartoon princesses might imply that it is meant for very young audiences , but the light swearing and song about boobs imp

Review: Poisoned

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I saw an ad on Facebook for Poisoned  by Jennifer Donnelly  and thought "Cool. A retelling of 'Snow White.' " Little did I know that this book would be one of the darkest and unpleasant retellings about the fairest one of all that I've ever read. The book has nothing in it that would be considered inappropriate for children, but it has the same level of storytelling as the 2012 film Snow White and the Huntsman . If you enjoyed that movie, you might like this book. However, I was not a fan of either. So much of Poisoned tries to incorporate Tim Burton -esque imagery that I wasn't sure if Jennifer Donnelly  was aware that she was writing a book and not a screenplay. Films are meant to tantalize their audiences with stunning visuals and sounds while books must allow us to connect with the characters on an emotional level by revealing their internal monologues. A good film or book would succeed in both. This succeeds in neither. Poisoned  is written mostly in the

Fate on Netflix Is the Anti-Winx Saga!

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"I'm just kinda bummed I didn't see a single pair of wings" is the final line in Netflix's preview trailer for Fate: The Winx Saga . It's probably no coincidence that her statement was every fan's reaction to the initial trailer for the show . Its TV-MA rating is a clear indicator that its target audience is very different from the sparkly animated Winx Club series from 2004 , which happens to be the year Bloom says she was born. This bland live-action remake makes us wish we could go back to that time period when film and television still had original ideas . The constant references to sex and drugs feel superficial and forced into the script to get the desired rating on Netflix, unlike something like Bridgerton , which has a plot that revolves directly around its characters' sex lives. When all is said and done, the first six episodes of Fate: The Winx Saga are a complete insult to everything that the Winx Club series stood for. Fate's supernatur

Review: Stalks of Gold

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I was fortunate to receive an ARC of the first book in the upcoming Bewitching Fairy Tales series by Celeste Baxendell . Set for release on January 28th,  Stalks of Gold  is a retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" and "Rapunzel"  that I enjoyed quite a bit more than the last "Rumpelstiltskin" adaptation I reviewed. The love story in Stalks of Gold  is not shallow like many other fairy tale adaptations, and the protagonist's obstinance toward love is understandable. It sets up a flawed love triangle that gives the reader a chance to piece together how it might end up without being too heavy-handed. The first installment in this fairy tale series does a good job of balancing the two fairy tales without having  a split personality  by giving each of the two love interest a different role in both stories. Stalks of Gold  wastes no time in setting up the premise. Aurelia, a miller's daughter, is captured by palace guards and forced to spin straw into gold, s

Review: Disenchantment - Part 3

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I have a lot of mixed feelings about Disenchantment . I love the concept  of a fantasy princess show from  Matt Groening , creator of The Simpsons and Futurama , which both have deeply flawed protagonists that people would not associate with the heroes or heroines from fairy tales. Bean is a new kind of princess who is more likely to hang out at the local tavern instead of attending a royal ball. Her two sidekicks, Elfo, a lovesick runaway elf and Luci, a demon who was kicked out of Hell, give the show plenty of humor and charm. The biggest flaw derives from its format. The Simpsons and Futurama were long-running episodic series that pumped out a lot of episodes that could be watched in any order with the intention of being syndicated on network television. Netflix series are designed to be binged, which means they release small chunks of episodes that give enough of a cohesive story to satisfy viewers for another year while they wait for the next season. So far, Disenchantment has fa

Review: The Opal Crown

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Last week, I reviewed an unnecessary sequel , so it only feels appropriate to follow up with another sequel I read that is so necessary that the original book feels empty without it. The Opal Crown  by Jenny Lundquist  fills in all of the gaps that were left behind by the Princess and the Pauper -inspired book,  The Princess in the Opal Mask . I enjoyed The Princess in the Opal Mask , but was left with many questions after completing the final chapter. It leaves both girls in a delicate situation that is likely to fall apart at any moment. The Opal Crown  conveys prcisely how that situation falls apart and how the girls must work together to save themselves, their kingdom, and choose how they will spend the rest of their lives. It is a fast-paced suspenseful adventure story that is superior to the original book in every way. This review will contain spoilers for The Princess in the Opal Mask , so be sure to read that first if it is a concern. The Princess in the Opal Mask  concludes wi